Dear Travel Advisors/Agents,
As the owner of two tour operator businesses in the past, one of my duties was to hire TAs to sell our tour packages. We hired many travel agents and I had to train them all to sell our specific packages to Latin America. I taught them our market, geography, and product.
At that time, most of the sales requests came by phone from all over the US and Canada. We tried finding good TAs through newspapers ads, going to local travel agent schools, and offering good commission to experienced TAs from other tour operators (spreading the word through our own TAs.)
Let me remind you that this was during a time at the very beginning of the internet’s popularity in business. Big companies had very expensive websites, but there wasn’t much more – like Google, Social Media and all these tools that make life a bit easier.
It came to a point that in desperation I started to try to hire salespeople from other industries and tried to teach them travel, thinking that if they could sell one thing, they just need to learn a new product.
Well, that experience totally backfired! I realized through this experience that if an experienced salesperson can’t really relate to a product, it made it much harder for them to sell. I realized that if they couldn’t or wouldn’t buy the product that they were selling and really relate to it, it was harder for them to sell. I also noticed that novice travel agents were so in love with travel that they did much better learning new sales techniques than the other way around.
I don’t regret taking this time and learning from this experience. The company was short on staff to answer phone calls at that time, and we couldn’t afford to lose calls. I learned a lot and never made the same mistake again. I actually improved and focused on teaching experienced travel agents and lovers of travel how to be more comfortable in dealing with prospective clients.
If you are a new travel agent/ advisor and want to improve your sales skills, feel free to pick my brain! After all, I improved my skills in teaching in the best way. 😉